The Grand Prix of Turkey in 2020
The coronavirus changed a lot to Formula 1 in 2020. Not only was it postponed throughout the season, but many races were even cancelled altogether due to the virus. Formula 1 still wanted to set up a full calendar in 2020, and this resulted in a number of new circuits. For example, Formula 1 already added Portimao, Mugello and Imola and Istanbul.
Where Portimao and Mugello are new on the F1 calendar, this is not the case for Istanbul and Imola. The GP of Turkey was first seen in 2005 and was won by Kimi Raikkonen. The Istanbul Park Circuit quickly became popular with the drivers because of the unique cornering combinations and especially the five-corner combination (turn 8).
In addition to these unique corners, the Istanbul Circuit is also one of the few circuits that go anti-clockwise. Only Interlagos (Brazil), Marina Bay (Singapore) and the Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi) have a similar layout of the regular calendar.
What does the weekend in Istanbul look like?
Times are yet to be confirmed for this race, but we do expect to see the usual European times in place. Therefore, we can expect that the first free practice session will start at 10:30 (UK time) and the qualifying and race will start at 14:00 on Saturday and Sunday.
Who are the favourites in Turkey?
Kimi Raikkonen was the first winner of the Turkish Grand Prix in 2005 but does not seem to be able to repeat this trick in his Alfa Romeo in 2021. The record holder Felipe Massa is no longer present in Formula 1. The Brazilian won three times in Turkey and did so consecutively in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
After Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have also won in Turkey. The fast corners on the track alternate with slower corners and there is plenty of opportunities to overtake. With victories for Brawn, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing, not one team seem to be the clear historical favourite.
The race in 2020 saw Lewis Hamilton take the victory and be crowned champion for the seventh time in his career. He was joined by Sergio Perez [P2] and Sebastian Vettel [P3] on the podium after a mixed up wet race.